Tag Archives: trace poetry

30 in 30, day twenty

sept 2017 30-30Here is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek trace poem of D.H. Lawrence’s “Moon Memory.” (You can read the original here.)

Fog Forgetfulness

When the fog rises in a student’s mind
grey and clammy, as in the green shadow of a copse
pooling together, and sticking to his skull –

then the tranquil, ordered thought-world
exists no more, nor ever truly existed;
but instead
this thick grey dullness
oozes, and drips seeping, drifting sideways, muggily against his skull,
on his thoughts that are verdant forest within him.

And through the sticking of the grey sponge of the fog
furry creatures enveloped plunge inward and grow dim
in muddy gloom of torpor, leaf-enveloped torpor
in the sleepy, sludge-ridden blockage of ordered thought
that has left the woods in pea soup, even in daylight.


Trace poetry: D.H. Lawrence

July imageToday’s post is traced from D.H. Lawrence’s “Peace.” (Click here to see the source poem.)


Purpose is waiting around the block
in coffee.

Purpose, creamy purpose dissolved.
My life will only find purpose
when the cafe opens.

Secret, penetrating coffee,
secret as rush hour traffic,
swimming like a lovelorn mallard up the river against the tide.

Buildings, parks, cars,
always in the soft haze of coffee.
Buses inches from the corner,
and the corner just yards away from the coffee shop.

Purpose dissolved in creamy coffee around the block.
Within, deep brown coffee, always with purpose
till it opens subtly, inviting the day;
to race always through veins,
warm creamy veins.

Call it Purpose?

Day three poem, LexPoMo 2017

LexPoMo2017I’ve been doing a lot of trace poetry lately; it frees me to focus more on words and less on form. This is traced from D.H. Lawrence’s “Aware.” You can view the original at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/54058/54058-h/54058-h.htm#png.029.

Reblogged from the Lexington Poetry Month blog.


Steadily the day is falling through the mottled leaves,
casting shadows within shadows, layers of shade and light
merging green and exquisite; and I beyond numb
feel in the air around me a sweetness I did not expect
I needed, but here it is and its touch soothes my skin;
I welcome it through the grief, choosing still to breathe.

Day 8, NaPoWriMo 2017

Emily Dickinson is a real dickens to trace! Her language is so precise and her images so concrete, it is difficult to create something more than a pale imitation or weak echo. I’ve been wrestling with a couple Dickinson poems for about a week, and this is the first thing that has even faintly resembled something I could call my own.

Moon! You were finding me
the whole night by
gaps in the blinds too tiny
to be seen by day

Beam after beam of silver light
swept the pillow, seemed to hit
my eyes, no matter that
they were tightly shut

This morning I hold you
to blame for my slow
rising, even though
I stayed out past two

(loosely patterned after poem no. 1035 “Bee! I’m expecting you!” by Emily Dickinson – http://hellopoetry.com/poem/2416/bee-im-expecting-you/)


Day 4, NaPoWriMo 2017

napo2017button1If you haven’t already, check out Poetry Daily (http://poems.com/). They also have a wonderful app for your phone or tablet, so you can carry poetry with you everywhere.

That Way of Listening

She could hear it strong,
flying over the April
melt mud still continuing
now to well up. Odors
of stone bathed the stream
bank. And really, it resembled
the fish in fairy tales
when you’re out of
bait: rising to the surface,
feeding close enough to touch.
Things were no different where
she took the island ferry.
Soft on the air drifted
this low song, and a sharp
burning of whiskey,
straight whiskey beneath
the unwitting tongue there,
exactly in the place
she would find it. She always
could taste it, usually
without meaning to. By day
unexpected clouds rolled in,
sending wide, grey shadows
spilling over the hills.
She danced, danced, until
she could feel who
the creek was calling as
it came rushing over
the ice-shattered boulders,
flinging so high into
the air that bright spray
of fresh and boundless energy.

(trace poem of “That Time of Year,” by Leon Stokesbury, http://poems.com/poem.php?date=17039)


Day 2 poem, NaPoWriMo 2017

napo2017button1When I sat down to work, a pair of grackles in the garden gathering dried grasses for their nest, and Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” came to mind.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Poem


Among thousands of angry words,
The only thing shouting
Was the poem.


I spoke in two voices,
like a piece of paper
On which there are two poems.


The poem danced on the reader’s tongue.
It was the eye of the hurricane.


The body and the mind
Are one.
The body and the mind and a poem
Are one.


I do not choose which to praise,
The eloquence of form
Or the eloquence of function,
The reading of the poem
Or the silence after.


Blackbirds filled the fall afternoon
With chaotic sound.
The echo of the poem
Matched it, tone for tone.
The pattern
Etched on the echo
An inarticulate meaning.


O vain bodies of Columbia,
Why do you crave yellow words?
Do you not hear how the poem
Unfolds in the questions
Of the minds around you?


I dream bright eyes
And dark, feathered wings;
But I dream, too,
That the poem is born
In what I dream.


When the poem came to an end,
It crossed the threshold
Of one in many lifetimes.


At the sound of poetry
Rising in a purple chorus,
Even the impresarios of opposition
Would sigh contentedly.


She flew over the country
On a carpet of sound.
Once, delight pierced her,
In that she understood
The echo of her conveyance
As poetry.


The mountains are shouting.
The poem must be rising.


It was spring all winter.
It was angry
And it was going to be angry.
The poem sprang
From the bone marrow.

(trace poem of “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” by Wallace Stevens. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/45236 )

NaPoWriMo 2017

It’s here! After a long winter of stress, illness, and recovery, I’m delighted to turn again to poetry.

This is trace poem of Walt Whitman’s “The Runner,” which appeared in his much-edited collection, Leaves of Grass.

The Runner

Over a hard track flies the deep-bred horse,
She is spare and wiry with spidery legs,
She is finely contoured, she yearns homeward as she gallops,
With outstretched neck and ears slightly flattened.

(You can view the source poem at http://www.bartleby.com/142/76.html.)